Royal Exchange Manchester announces 2022 full-year season


Maxine Peake as Betty Boothroyd in the Royal Exchange's Christmas musical for 2022
Maxine Peake as Betty Boothroyd in the Royal Exchange's Christmas musical for 2022

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre has unveiled its new season for the full length of 2022, rather than the part-year like most theatres.

Joint artistic directors Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan open their first complete year of productions with Stef Smith's Nora: A Doll's House, originally scheduled for 2020 but halted by the pandemic. It will now run from March 4-April 2 and takes a new look at the Ibsen masterpiece.

Next up is Jaz Woodcock-Stewart’s production of 2017 Bruntwood Judges’ Prize winner Electric Rosary (April 23-May 14). Tim Foley’s play explores belief in the Age of Tech with a quirky mix of old and new – and even a robot nun.

Weise will direct a new revival of Lolita Chakrabarti's award-winning Red Velvet (May 27-June 25), about Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who was pretty much the first black actor to play Othello on the London stage in the 1830s. Director Atri Banerjee then returns to Manchester to take charge of a new production of Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie (September 2-October 8).

Bryony Shanahan will direct the revival of Jack Thorne's adaptation of Let the Right One In – the vampire story made famous in recent cinema (October 22-November 19).

To complete the year comes an unexpected return of former Exchange artistic director Sarah Frankcom, She and Exchange favourite Maxine Peake will collaborate on Betty! A Sort of Musical (December 3, 2022-January 14, 2023), written by Maxine Peake and Seiriol Davies and starring Peake.

The piece celebrates Dewsbury-born Betty Boothroyd, first female Speaker of the House of Commons. Frankcom returns to the Exchange for the first time since 2019, when she left to run LAMDA, the London drama school. She and LAMDA parted ways earlier this year and the Christmas show is her first-announced project since.